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Celebrating Black History Month on Campus

This February the university is celebrating Black History Month through a variety of events, exhibits and talks. Check out the opportunities to learn more.

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Black History Month is turning 40 this year.

But its roots stretch back a half-century earlier, to the first Negro History Week, observed in February in conjunction with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14). Historian and journalist Carter G. Woodson initiated the weeklong focus on black history in 1926 as a way to coordinate the teaching of black history in public schools. Fifty years later, during the 1976 American bicentennial celebration, President Gerald Ford formally established Black History Month.

Read on for events, exhibits and other happenings on campus to celebrate Black History Month 2016.

Bass-baritone singer Leon P. Turner

Bass-baritone singer Leon P. Turner will be featured at the Butler School of Music’s Black History Month concert on Feb. 7.

Week of Feb. 1–7

Monday, Feb. 1: Black History Month Dinner Series – African Dinner
5 – 8 p.m., J2 Dining; 4:30 – 7 p.m., Kinsolving

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Artist Talk and Opening Reception, “Light and Life: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Through the Lens of John Pinderhughes”
5:30 p.m., The Idea Lab, Gordon White Building (GWB) 2.204

Sunday, Feb. 7: Black History Month free concert, featuring the music of Duke Ellington 
Hosted by the Butler School of Music. Bass-baritone singer Leon P. Turner will be joined by UT Austin choirs, the Huston-Tillotson University Concert Choir and the UT Jazz Orchestra.
7:30 p.m., Bates Recital Hall

Historian and civil rights scholar Peniel Joseph

Race and democracy stand at the core of America’s national identity, ongoing political evolution, and democratic experiment,” says Peniel Joseph, professor in the Department of History and the LBJ School of Public Affairs and founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School.

Week of Feb. 8–14

Feb. 8 – 9: Conference on “Race, Democracy and Public Policy in America”
Hosted by the new Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs
Get more information about the conference and register to attend.

Tuesday, Feb. 9: Black History Month Dinner Series – Afro-South Dinner
5 – 8 p.m., J2 Dining; 4:30 – 7 p.m., Kinsolving EndFragment

Thursday, Feb. 11: Artist Talk and Opening Reception, “Patience on a Monument: Recent work by Eto Otitibge,” Curated by Myron M. Beasley, Ph.D.
5:30 p.m., New Warfield Center Gallery, Jester Gallery (JES) A232

Week of Feb. 15–21

Monday, Feb. 15: Diaspora Talk with Quincy Mills, “Cutting Along the Color Line: Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America”
3:00 p.m., Gordon White Building (GWB) 2.206

Wednesday, Feb. 17: Black History Month Dinner Series – Afro-Caribbean Dinner
5 – 8 p.m., J2 Dining; 4:30 – 7 p.m., Kinsolving EndFragment

Wednesday, Feb. 17: Italian-Ghanian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu Screenings and Q&A
5:30 p.m., Mezes 1.306

Wednesday, Feb. 17: African American Nursing Student Association (AANSA) welcomes Jan Fox, former nursing instructor, one of the first Black nursing faculty members at UT and founder of AANSA
4:30 p.m., Room 4.180, School of Nursing, 1710 Red River St.

Week of Feb. 22–29

Feb. 22 – Feb. 26: 20th annual Barbara Jordan Forum, “Criminal Justice Reform: A Common Destiny”
Hosted by the LBJ School, the 2016 Forum commemorates the 80th birthday of the late Congresswoman and LBJ School faculty member.

Wednesday, Feb. 24: Barbara Jordan Forum keynote address, “Inequality in the Criminal Justice System,” by Vanita Gupta
Gupta is the principal deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., LBJ School. Learn more about Gupta and the rest of the forum’s program.

Wednesday, Feb. 24: 30th annual Heman Sweatt Symposium panel discussion, “EnGENDERing Power on the Forty Acres: The Story of Integrating UT Austin”
6:30 p.m., Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School. Get more information about the Feb. 24 event and how to RSVP.

Book cover - Black Intellectual Thought in Education

Thursday, Feb. 25: Black History Month Dinner Series – African American Dinner
5 – 8 p.m., J2 Dining; 4:30 – 7 p.m., Kinsolving EndFragment

Friday, Feb. 26: Faculty Book Presentation, “Black Intellectual Thought in Education: The Missing Tradition of Ann Julia Cooper, Carter G. Woodson and Alain LeRoy Brown”
3:00 p.m., Gordon White Building (GWB) 2.204

Additional Resources

Throughout February, works by California-based artist Brian Washington are on view on the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library. The exhibit, “The Continual Struggle,” documents the Civil Rights Movement and America’s historic struggle against segregation and other forms of race-based disenfranchisement. The exhibit (up through April 10) uses visual art as an educational tool and method of storytelling, vividly illustrating people who were willing to go into the streets to protest injustice and inequality.

Archivist Rachel Winston

Rachel E. Winston has joined UT Austin as Black Diaspora Archivist. “This project says that we value the contributions of Black intellectuals, professionals and artists, and that we will promote their use,” she says.

Read about Rachel Winston, the inaugural Black Diaspora Archivist at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. The position is brand new, and one of few of its kind in the world. As part of her position, Winston will lead efforts, working with faculty and other library professionals, to establish the Black Diaspora archive, to be housed at the Benson Latin American Collection. “The creation of the position by UT speaks volumes,” she says, stressing the importance of the university’s commitment of resources to ensure that the narratives of black lives are preserved.

For more about black history (as well as a wide variety of other areas of historical interest), check out the History Department’s Not Even Past website. Drawing on diverse research by the university’s faculty, the site features historical information from around the globe, along with book and film recommendations and multimedia extras.

website header for 15-Minute History podcast

Not Even Past, in partnership with Hemispheres, also produces the award-winning podcast “15-Minute History,” which features short, accessible discussions from faculty and graduate students. Since its launch in 2013, it has frequently held the top spot in iTunes U’s Top Collections category. Subscribe to the podcast and check out these episodes during Black History Month:

KLRU, Austin’s PBS station that is based at UT Austin, will celebrate Black History Month with a slate of programming. Check out KLRU’s February lineup or your local PBS listings.